• Listening to Cybernetics: Music, Machines, and Nervous Systems, 1950-1980

    Author(s):
    Christina Dunbar-Hester (see profile)
    Date:
    2010
    Subject(s):
    Computers, Music, Science--Study and teaching, Technology--Study and teaching, Sound--Study and teaching
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    cybernetics, experimental music, Computers and music, Science and technology studies (STS), Sound studies
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/zera-zr55
    Abstract:
    Scholars have explored the influence of the field of cybernetics on scientific thought and disciplines. However, from the inception of the field, ‘‘cyberneticians’’ had explicitly envisioned applications reaching beyond the purview of scientific disciplines; cybernetics was remarkable for its portability and potential application in a wide variety of contexts. This article explores connections between cybernetics and experimental music from 1950-1980, which was a period of experimentation with electronic techniques in recording, composition, and sound production and manipulation. Examples include musicians, engineers, instrument builders, composers, and scientists in collaboration with musicians who invoked cybernetic themes in their work. These uses of cybernetics were more diverse than accounts of cybernetics within the sciences suggest, presenting a major difficulty in addressing cybernetics as a homogeneous or monolithic discourse. In particular, cybernetic discourse in music often exhibited themes of openness and indeterminacy, rather than the ‘‘command and control’’ of the ‘‘closed world.’’
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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